Released in 2011, Fifty Shades of Grey is an erotic novel by British author E.L. James. It is the first novel in a trilogy with the second and third titled Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed respectively. The novel has topped best seller lists around the world, including U.K. and The United States. Here are 7 interesting facts about Fifty Shades of Grey.
#1 BDSM scenes are one of the reasons behind its popularity
Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy is primarily about the romantic relationship between college graduate Anastasia Steele and business magnate Christian Grey. The novel is notable for its explicit sex scenes involving bondage/discipline/sadism/masochism (BDSM). These scenes have been a major reason behind the popularity as well as criticism of the novel.
#2 Fifty Shades of Grey is the fastest selling paperback of all time
Fifty Shades of Grey series has sold more than 90 million copies worldwide. It created the record of the fastest selling paperback of all time surpassing The Harry Potter series. The novel was number one on USA Today’s best-selling books list for twenty weeks creating a record. It is also the first e-book to sell more than 1 million copies on the Kindle. In 2012, the author of the novel, E.L. James was listed in Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World”.
#3 It has been dubbed as Mommy Porn
As the novel’s fan-base is mostly comprised of married women over thirty, some news agencies have dubbed it as “Mommy Porn”. News networks in U.S. have attributed the success of the novel to the discrete nature of e-reading devices. They have also noted it as an example of rise in popularity of female erotica.
#4 It was first published episodically on Twilight fan sites
The Fifty Shades trilogy is based on a Twilight fan-fiction titled Master of the Universe. It was published episodically on Twilight fan-sites. After comments concerning the racy content of the material E.L. James removed the story from those sites and published it on her own website. Later she rewrote it as an original piece, changed the names of the characters and removed it from her website before it was published.
#5 A XXX version of Fifty Shades was caught in a lawsuit
Universal Pictures and Focus Features secured the film rights of the trilogy in March 2012. In June 2012 Smash Pictures, a pornographic film company, announced that an adult version of the trilogy titled Fifty Shades of Grey: A XXX Adaptation would be released in 2013. In November 2012, Universal Studios, who have purchased the movie rights of the trilogy, filed a lawsuit against Smash Pictures stating that the movie was not a parody adaption and hence violated copyright. The lawsuit requested that Universal receives profits from the sales of the movies as well as damages. It was eventually settled out of court for an undisclosed sum.
#6 The film adaptation of the novel was also a huge commercial success
In 2015, the first film of the trilogy was released. Directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson, it stars Dakota Johnson as Anastasia Steele and Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey. The film was a huge commercial success breaking several box office records and went on to earn more than $550 million worldwide. As of May 2015, it is the third-highest-grossing film directed by a woman behind Kung Fu Panda 2 and Mama Mia! It is also the fourth-highest-grossing R-rated film of all time. There were several protests and campaigns against the film due to its sexual content.
#7 A boutique gives classes on how to perform sex acts described in the novel
An article titled “‘Fifty Shades of Grey’: The How-To Class” was published in the New Yorker on May 22, 2012. It said that the New York erotic boutique Babeland had started giving classes on how to perform the sex acts described in the trilogy. Another article related to the novel was published in the New York Post. It mentioned that during the first six months of 2012, New York City area hardware stores had seen a high jump in the sales of ropes, especially to women. In the same article it was also written that Babeland had seen a 30% increase in their sales during the same period. There was also an 81% increase of traffic to the bondage section of Babeland’s website.